Here are 3 ways to make a left turn.
Like #1 in the image above, the first way to make a left turn is to do it as a car would. If you are riding on smaller to medium-sized streets, this turn is much easier to do. Just remember that if there is a vehicle or another bike rider coming towards you when you want to go left, you Yield and let the oncoming traffic go first. That is one of our traffic “right of way” rules.
The steps to doing this car or vehicular style of left-turn are to scan behind, signal your turn, and move over one lane at a time to the place where you will make your left turn. From there you wait until, as mentioned above for the traffic coming towards to go first, then make your left turn when it is safe. If it sounds complicated, it is compared to doing a box turn, which we will cover next. The video below shows how to make a “vehicular” left turn (like a car/vehicle) on a bigger road.
The second way (#2 in the top image) is a two-stage left, or box turn. To make a left turn you cross one street, stop, turn your bike to face the left, then cross the second street when it is your turn. This is done NOT as one movement but two, waiting until you have the green light or it is your turn to go on smaller streets. On bigger roads with more than one lane in each direction, this is a much easier left turn to make, can take the same amount of time, and doesn’t involve negotiating across multiple lanes of traffic.
In more and more places, cities are creating bike boxes for bike riders to use when making left turns. Here is a video describing how to use one.
The third way to make a left turn is to become a pedestrian. It is #3 in the image below. This is useful for very big intersections with a lot of traffic.
Walking your bike turns you into a pedestrian, gives you more time to make eye contact with car drivers to figure out who will go next, and makes crossing big intersections more relaxing.